Why You Should Hang Up Your Robe
Glynnis Whitwer

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me…" Acts 20:24 (NIV)

My first instinct was to leave the clean, folded clothes on top of the dresser. Granted, my arms were filled with freshly laundered items, so it would have been difficult to open the drawer while balancing the stack. I had an excuse for leaving them on top. Didn't I? Instead, I pushed past my instinct, took 30 more seconds, and placed the clothes neatly in the drawer.

This tendency to not complete a task happens with surprising regularity. I toss my bathrobe on the bed, drape jeans on the tub, and set the television remote on the nearest counter top. However, sometimes, when I'm a bit more self-aware, I take the few extra steps needed to actually finish the task.

Years ago, I realized my practice of stopping short of finishing what I started, led to a cluttered home and office. Back then, I had a multitude of unfinished tasks that I just lived with. It wasn't all simple things like putting away clothes, but included larger tasks like leaving a wall half painted.

Starting a project is fun, and usually involves a burst of energy. Then, that energy wanes as I approach the finish line. Instead of pushing to complete the task, assignment or project with excellence, I lean towards settling for good enough. Unfortunately, when I settle for "good enough" consistently, I learn to live with mediocrity. And accepting mediocrity is far from where God wants me to be. You see, finishing what we start is more than a good organizational or home management skill. It's also a spiritual discipline.

As I identified the tendency to settle, I realized it affected me in a variety of ways throughout my life. In the past I accepted a distant relationship with God rather than one of intimacy. I've limited my understanding of Scripture to a surface level. My relationships with others have gone no deeper than, "Hi, how are you doing?" Instead of pushing to explore the fullness of what God offers in all areas, it is easier to stop short. Perhaps it's safer. Simpler. And with less personal discomfort or inconvenience.

Interestingly, it's actually been somewhat simple to address this issue. I admit the tendency within myself to settle, and I get firm with myself about it. Now, when I would prefer to leave the dryer full of clothes, or emails half typed, I say to myself, "Finish what you start." I make a conscientious decision to finish the task at hand before I move on to something new. Obviously, there are some projects that require more effort, but this works on a lot of my issues.

I'm not sure of all the reasons for stopping short of finishing with excellence, but I do know the results. I end up with a bunch of unfulfilled commitments, open loops and shallow relationships. That's a far cry from the life Jesus came to bring, which is full and abundant. Not a partial life, but one lived with pushing to the limits and exploring the outer reaches.

Maybe that seems a deep principle to pull from putting clothes in a drawer or a dirty bowl in the dishwasher. However, the discipline of finishing well is one that is woven through my life … or it's not.

So I guess I'll take the extra step and actually hang up my robe. It's one more stitch in this tapestry of finishing well that God is trying to create in my life.

Dear Lord, thank You for demonstrating finishing well through the life of Jesus I know Jesus could have stopped short of paying the price for my salvation. But He didn't. For that I will be eternally grateful. Please help me push through mediocrity in my life and explore the fullness You long to bring. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
P31 Woman magazine

Visit Glynnis’ blog for a list of common unfinished tasks and suggestions for the many things women deal with.

6 Habits of Highly Effective Christians by Brian T. Anderson & Glynnis Whitwer

The 7 Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do by Kathie Reimer & Lisa Whittle

For practical tips on finishing a task, read Make Piles of Paper and Magazines Disappear

Reflections:
What are some reasons we avoid finishing certain tasks?

Does procrastination reflect a deeper spiritual issue? Write your thoughts.

Power Verses:
John 19:30, "When he had received the drink, Jesus said, 'It is finished.' With that he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." (NIV)

Genesis 2:2, "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work." (NIV)

© 2010 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!! Hmm you were talking directly to me. On ALL points. Thank you for the devotion I needed so much. God is awesome in providing lessons at just the right time.

Blogger Kara said...

Okay, you have no idea how much I really needed this today. I'm in the midst of a career change, and it's a long road that requires a "finishing" attitude.

I was just praying about it this morning, and then I came here for devotions... wow.

Thank you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

AWESOME POST ! Can you arrange to make them printable?

I, too, find myself "addicted to mediocrity" instead of pursuing excellence and finishing the race. I'm realizing this tendency in myself also. Far short of the intimate, fulfilling relationship(s) God desires for me. Thanks for the wake-up call this morning!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wrote on my f.b. post yesterday:

"a "four letter" word that means: "to delay or postpone an action; to put off something"

procrastination...to me it is like a "four-letter" word...one that connotes something bad...

One of the reasons I often procrastinate is because of fear. Probably that little mean voice in my head that says "It doesn't really matter because you will never do it good enough." --perfectionism.

I have to remember to look at the thing that God has placed in front of me (instead of the vast ocean of things around me)...and "do the next thing"...until I complete it...

Thanks for giving me some food for thought today...

Blogger Marilyn said...

Yes, this is definitely where I am at. I have been working on finishing what I start for a while and your honesty in this matter was very helpful. I am so glad that I am not alone. I am praising God for you. Thanks.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this devotion. I really needed this wake up call!

Anonymous Jessica said...

Wow, this sounds a LOT like me. Thanks for the challenge -- I needed it!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, this is sooooo ME. I've never thought about it and realized that my tendancy to leave things half done was also the same issue as not having deep relationships as well. Thank you for sharing your weakness. Just goes to show that God gives us weaknesses to help others!

Blogger Familyof6inTX said...

I have been settling for a lot lately. Since my house isn't exactly what I want I have been too quick to let things pile up and blame the size of the house not my laziness. Thanks for reminding me to make the most of every opportunity and find all that God wants for us.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this devotional. I feel like this devo was meant for me. I am so encouraged to change my actions and complete the small and large projects in my life. My also husband recently pointed out that I need to change my attitude and start finishing what I start.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this reminder. I'm a teacher and with only three and a half weeks left, I was ready to just coast through. This devotion has reminded me to finish strong and I now feel like I'm ready to give it my all! Thanks so much for the amazing devotions--something I need every day!

Anonymous Terri said...

WOW. That was the first word that came to my mind when I read this. And then I looked at the comments and so many other women said WOW, too. What an eye opener. Thank you for taking the time to finish this devotion. :-)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for challenging me to finish what I start. I'm sickened at the thought that I am still working on this area of my life, but I see I am not alone. I've already begun praying that the Lord will open my eyes to make me completely aware of what I start and give me the strength to finish...strong. Your devotion is confirmation that the Lord really wants me to fix this in me! Thank you.

Blogger Wynter said...

Thanks so much for this devotional. I need to do much more than hang up my robe. You really opened my eyes today, and I'm going to use this opportunity with God's help to get my life on track. Thanks again and God bless.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me how God uses every medium available to speak to us! I have been thinking lately about all those things I regret not finishing...like my nursing degree, my business course, my diet... sooo many things I feel ashamed to admit. But I know there is hope and God is on my side. Thank you so much for this wake up call...it came at just the right time!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are just spot on! That's me you were describing about in your article. I have become "addicted" to mediocrity and I knew it but I still keep on doing it and I'm in the same spot again right now. It torments me and makes me feel worse and angry at myself but I seem so powerless to stop procrastinating.God help me!

Thank you for writing about your own experience.

Blogger Gwhitwer said...

Thank you for all of your comments. It seems that most of us deal with this issue. And my heart breaks for those of you who feel overwhelmed or defeated.

I want to come alongside you and offer help and support. To do so, I have recently started a blog to offer practical tips for living a more productive and organized life. Please visit me for more encouragement and help at www.herorganizedlife.com.

With Christ's love, Glynnis

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